To think that human beings or animals could be involved in the horrific cowardly act of the killing of six Iguanas, which took place at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Park behind a locked fence, is beyond my imagination, and I ask myself these questions…. Were these fences animal proof? Were the gates to the pen absolutely tamper proof?
When humans cage animals, should not those animals be absolutely and completely protected from outside influences? Don’t we owe these animals anything? We are their guardians, and we let them down!
To take the responsibility of caging an animal taken from their natural habitat is very demanding and one must accept the total protection and care of these creatures.
The very fact that these Iguanas are found nowhere else in the world but the Cayman Islands should alone be the criteria for absolute and total protection and the ultimate responsibility lies with the organisation that agreed to cage these creatures. I do not wish to place the blame on any one individual; the onus is on the establishment. I understand that in order to protect the endangered species, there needs to be a controlled breeding programme, however, in this instance, it appears as if a lack of total protection was overlooked.
There could be the argument that there were not enough funds to fully protect the area that these endangered and valued creatures were kept, however that is not an excuse, as from reading about the decision to cage and protect these creatures in order to have a breeding programme in place, there was international interest from the beginning, and more demand could have been made from the powers that be to provide the funds necessary to carry out this protection. We should hang our heads in shame.
Rare, endangered, or threatened plants and animals are elements of our natural heritage that are declining rapidly or on the verge of extinction. If we cherish these species, like we do other rare and beautiful objects, these living creatures become treasures of the highest magnitude.
It is not enough for us to be distraught over this incident, we must be more vigilant and trustworthy to be the guardians of these imperilled creatures on the planet, so that we can offer them security, and guarantee that they will continue to survive.
I am truly saddened that the iguanas had to suffer unnecessarily on account of not being protected properly, and hope and pray that the funds coming in now will be put towards more secure protection for the remaining ones.
Angela C. Eldemire